Associated Press Associates with Social Media

2 07 2010

Even in 2010, some traditional news sources still do not understand the importance of adopting social media. But as the primary news gathering agency in the United States, the Associated Press (AP) is far from behind in the social media game. Not only have they utilized multiple Twitter accounts for particular current events (including the World Cup) , but they also offer podcasts, a YouTube channel, and an up-to-date Facebook page. Clearly someone at AP is taking social journalism seriously.

And that person would be Lauren McCollough. She was recently promoted as the Social Networks and News Engagement Manager at AP and provided some insight in an e-mail interview with Steve Myers. According to McCollough, the audience for news is still alive but news agencies need to adapt to their new expectations and join in 2-way conversation. AP has demonstrated this on their Facebook page where they encourage followers to discuss stories and provide input by asking questions.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of AP’s social media strategy is their extensive use of Twitter. If someone just wants tweets concerning healthcare, then they can simply follow @AP/healthcarebeatteam. During the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, AP had different Twitter accounts for every sport! More recently AP has been using @AP_Courtside to follow Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan and other relevant stories happening in the Supreme Court. By creating all these specific Twitter accounts, AP is able to reach niche audience and consistently participate in the online buzz.

The extent to which AP uses Twitter is fascinating and intriguing. But is it possible that their focus on social media is hindering the effectiveness of their reporting? Do you think this transition into social media has forced companies like AP to move resources out of the reporting field and into the social media world? After reading this article, will you follow AP on Twitter or “like” the AP page on Facebook? Your comments are helpful and greatly appreciated!